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About First National Bank of Sycamore

The following history of the First National Bank of Sycamore is presented in a historic basis to remind all of us that this country has continually endured and prospered during extraordinary times. The same is true of the First National Bank of Sycamore.

In 1919 a group of Sycamore area residents decided to form a bank for the good of the community. 500 shares of stock were issued at $100 per share in order to raise $50,000 in capital. There were 96 initial shareholders who purchased between 1 and 10 shares apiece.

In 1929, after ten years of operation and on the eve of the Great Depression, the Bank had grown to $317,000 in total assets and $71,000 in capital. While the survival of any bank during the 1930’s was certainly not assured, the Bank managed to survive and continue to serve the community. Our country had just emerged from the Great Depression and entered World War II at the end of 1941 when total assets of the Bank were $636,000 and capital totaled $62,000.

After World War II the United States suffered from severe inflationary pressures from the sudden release of money and resources. The First National Bank of Sycamore managed to grow and serve its customers in this environment right up to 1950 and the start of the Korean War. In 1950 the Bank’s total assets were $1,792,000 and capital was $180,000. During the 1950’s our country endured a hard and bitter war, a prolonged period of recession and heightened tension with the Soviet Union that became known as the Cold War.

1962 saw the height of the Cold War with the Cuban Missile Crisis that brought our country to the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. It was also the year that the Bank moved into its newly constructed main office on South Sycamore Avenue and Seventh Street in Sycamore. During that same year the First National Bank of Sycamore’s total assets grew to $3,384,000 with capital of $387,000.

The 1970’s ushered in an era of economic recession with massive plant closings and layoffs across the Midwest. The country’s President was forced to resign under a cloud of scandal and the first oil crisis sent gas prices soaring. In 1976 the Bank opened its first branch office in McCutchenville as total assets topped $11,000,000 and capital was $923,000.

The 1980’s were marred by corporate scandal and a stock market crash. The arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union escalated to new heights. At the end of this decade total assets of the Bank were over $30,000,000 and capital was $4,209,000. The 1990’s ushered in a new era of instability in Eastern Europe as the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980’s reverberated across the world. The decade also saw the House of Representatives voting to impeach the President. In 1997, the Bank purchased the New Riegel branch office as total assets topped $57,000,000 and capital grew to $7,105,000.

The new millennium ushered in an era of promise with a roaring stock market fueled by speculative investing in the .com industries. The technology bubble began to burst early in the decade with the final blow being the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. During these tumultuous events, the Bank’s assets grew to over $75,000,000 and capital to $10,961,000.

Despite all of the challenges that have faced our country throughout its history, just remember:

  • While the Great Depression produced great hardship and suffering it also ushered in an era of much needed financial reform including federally-backed bank deposit insurance.

  • The generation that grew up during the Great Depression went on to fight in and win World War II. Their work ethic drove this country to unparalleled growth and prosperity.

  • The 1950’s saw American home ownership soar. Today, the United States enjoys the highest level of home ownership than any other country in the world.

  • The country ended the tumultuous 1960’s by landing a man on the moon and safely returning him to earth. This remains the greatest achievement by mankind in history.

  • The microprocessor was invented in the early 1970’s and a company called Apple Computer was founded by the end of the decade. These events would lead to unequaled technological advances that would affect everyday life.

  • Through great national perseverance and personal sacrifice by millions of our military personnel, the Soviet Union collapsed in the late 1980’s.

  • Driven by unprecedented technological productivity, the 1990’s saw great economic prosperity and continued technological advances.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to set a new record high in 2006.

So remember, in time the challenges that are before us as a nation will turn into opportunities. Your friends at the First National Bank of Sycamore will always be right here to assist you as you face your own challenges and take advantage of your opportunities.
By the way, one share of stock in the First National Bank of Sycamore issued in 1919 would be worth $14,700 today!

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